Corona-Finance: Self Isolating

Corona-Finance: Self-Isolation (& Wellbeing)

I’m diabetic and I’m struggling to juggle my money, food and my health. Any pointers?

If you are already living with a pre-exisiting medical condition like diabetes, and are used to closely managing your body’s needs, it’s completely valid to feel extra anxiety at a time like this. Not everything is known about how Covid-19 impacts on those with diabetes, but people with underlying conditions seem to develop more serious illness when they contract the virus, so government advice is to observe social distancing and stay at home as much as possible.

However, there are things you can control: stock up on a week’s worth of medical supplies, insulin and food, if you can. If you think you may have to self-isolate, get in touch with your local pharmacy and GP to discuss support, and if there are prescription delivery services available.

Think about how to access healthy food to manage your diabetes, and how to exercise enough while at home. For more ideas, have a look at our information on cheap, healthy recipes, and where to get support with mental health and wellbeing during social distancing. If you are unable to work during this time, or your finances are impacted, have a look at our section relating to Money.

For further support, visit nhs.uk/conditions/diabetes/ diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/coronavirus endocrineweb.com/conditions/diabetes/diabetes-covid-19

I just feel so flipping anxious. About everything. Any money setbacks would be the last straw. Is there anywhere I can turn?

Yes, the virus is not the only health worry here. In many ways, isolation is going to really hurt people’s mental health because human contact is essential for wellbeing.

When it comes to money, Quids in! readers tell us our greatest service is showing them they’re not alone. We’re going to have find more ways to beat anxiety.

Keep in contact with friends and family by any and all means, from phone and Skype to Facebook. The website good-thinking.uk points us in the direction of things to try to reduce anxiety, sleeplessness, stress or feeling low.

Look up relaxation techniques on YouTube. Or contact giveusashout.org for text support right away.

Things may seem tough right now but everything changes. Samaritans are also on hand day and night, call 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org (response time 24 hours).

Are there any charities which provide free tablets?

An organisation called Wavelength offer free TV’s, radio and tablets for people in need. Look at their website to see if you meet the criteria: wavelength.org.uk

Turn2us have a grants finder that includes funding for tech devices. You can find it here: grants-search.turn2us.org.uk

I don’t have a huge budget for food. Are there any ways to stretch things out?

Quids in! has produced a Top 5 Tips for stretching out a food budget (see it here).

Some of it works best if we’ve had time to prepare but there are always extra things to try. It’s mainly about planning ahead, even if we’re having to do that from a standing start and in a crisis. There shouldn’t be any need to panic, or panic buy, but everyone is finding their way through this the best they can. Keep an eye on local websites for people offering help. These could be official sources like the council or your landlord (if a housing association, society or charity) or neighbourhood groups like nextdoor.co.uk. On Facebook, do a search for your town or village as you may find local groups offering neighbourhood support, like food hubs or meal deliveries, are springing up close to you.

I don’t have a huge budget for food. Are there any ways to stretch things out?

Quids in! has produced a Top 5 Tips for stretching out a food budget (see it here).

Some of it works best if we’ve had time to prepare but there are always extra things to try. It’s mainly about planning ahead, even if we’re having to do that from a standing start and in a crisis. There shouldn’t be any need to panic, or panic buy, but everyone is finding their way through this the best they can. Keep an eye on local websites for people offering help. These could be official sources like the council or your landlord (if a housing association, society or charity) or neighbourhood groups like nextdoor.co.uk. On Facebook, do a search for your town or village as you may find local groups offering neighbourhood support, like food hubs or meal deliveries, are springing up close to you.

We are on lockdown for 12 weeks. The odd food order that I manage to get Is lacking in fresh food. I am wondering what veg grows the quickest and is the most nutritious so I can supplement my diet?

You can grow ‘cut and come again’ salad leaves again in a matter of weeks. Even quicker and very nutritious is ‘sprouting’, for example, taking a bean and growing its shoots, eating it before it becomes a new plant. You can sprout beans, lentils and sprout alfalfa and broccoli seeds. Currently, you can buy the seeds online. You can grow these seeds in a bowl or a jar. For the jar method, all you need is a jar and some cloth to go over the top of the jar, soak the seeds for 12 hours and drain, then and rinse and drain few times a day until you have a jar of nutritious sprouts. Check youtube for videos for the method and this link for the benefits https://draxe.com/nutrition/alfalfa-sprouts/. If you grow any, please send us some photos of your harvest to help inspire others.

I have got lots of food, but it’s all tins and dried goods. I am running out of ideas. I am going mad with pasta and tomatoes, and the kids are now refusing to eat it.

Have a browse on the internet. You might start with investing in different spices so a tomato sauce one night is Mexican, the next it’s Italian and the next its Indian. There are plenty of ideas out there, if you can get the kids involved working out what they could make from the tins and dried food.

There is a great recipe for chocolate brownies made with a tin of black beans and another made of sweet potato. It is an ideal time to teach the kids some cookery skills whilst they are off school and they may pick up some ideas on nutrition. Kids are resilient and often willing to see things from different perspectives if you can also make it fun and even better if you can make it tasty.

Try one of the apps that help you to cook with what you have, (see brit.co/recipe-apps-for-ingredients-you-already-have). Try supercook.com too where you check off the ingredients you already have and they’ll start you off with a lot of recipes. It then suggests more specific ingredients to give you more options. The suggestions are great because you probably have more ingredients than you thought and there are some great meals in your pantry just waiting to get out.

I keep getting more and more calls from numbers I dont know. What’s going on?

It’s shocking but scam calls are on the up during this crisis. Some even say they are offering help from the government to write off all our debts, for example. The trouble is, a lot of real help is going to need to be made available by phone.

As older people are often targeted, Age UK have some good advice on how we can all protect ourselves:

1. Never reveal personal details – even if our bank rings us, tell them they need to prove who THEY are!

2. Hang up – this is no time for politeness, don’t accept anything dodgy

3. Call them back – ask for a number and, if possible, look up at that number online to check it’s legit

4. Don’t be rushed – scammers will pressure us so we don’t notice what they’re up to, if they’re pushy, hang up! If the caller really has our interests at heart, they’ll understand.

Read more: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/money-legal/scams-fraud/phone-scams/

Some shops are refusing payments in cash because of Coronavirus, but I don’t have a card – what can I do?

Some shops are going ‘cash-free’ as a way to try and stop the spread of Coronavirus. If you can’t get (or don’t want) a regular debit card, you could consider getting a prepaid card.

There are sometimes fees with prepaid cards so make sure to do your research! To read more about prepaid cards, check out this article on uSwitch and see Money Saving Expert’s top prepaid card picks.

I’m not sure if I’m included as a key worker and if my kids can stay in school or not. How do I find out?

Schools have issued letters to inform parents of the new rules; you will have to apply for a place and prove you meet  the criteria before sending your child into school. You will be invited to apply if you work in a critical worker role or your child meets  the vulnerable child criteria.

More information is available from the link below, and from your child’s school: gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

Someone I know has just been asked to leave a Wellbeing House today due to her health conditions and that she is in the high risk group. We don’t think she has any rights because it as short stay respite from sofa surfing. She has been asked to go back to family but they are all self isolating.

She needs to approach the housing team to make a homelessness application asap they will most likely have a duty of care.

If it is late in the day or at the end of the week, you can call the phone line to report a vulnerable person, and this will establish if she has a social worker.

Also – Shelter has a legal helpline that is open seven days a week, they will be able to confirm her legal rights and may be able to advise on what she should do on the day.
You can also look at https://www.gov.uk/civil-legal-advice

Her GP can refer to her council’s Housing team via the local council phone line. They will assess her for emergency accommodation through the local council; this consideration will be fast-tracked due to her health status.

I have the kids off school and no money. We are going crazy in the house, we don’t have a garden – none of us are ill. We tried to go to the park but it’s small and everyone had the same idea and the kids just all want to go on the swings and slides so we had to bail. Is anything else open?

Currently, the National Trust has now closed all of its car parks and gated gardens, as well as the cafes and houses.  Car parks are open only to key workers with a permit.

Please check if there is a place near to you and if they are open as things are changing rapidly. You must not have symptoms and maintain social distancing.

Read more: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/press-release/the-national-trusts-latest-statement-on-coronavirus-covid-19.

There are lots of resources online that are free – a good place to look is Twinkl, which has a home learning support page, weekly planners and a mountain of printouts and ideas. https://www.twinkl.co.uk/

You can also check out Mumsnet for a list of other free resources and links: https://www.mumsnet.com/swearsby/best-online-learning-resources#free-resources

Many childrens’ authors and illustrators are running online drawing, story writing and poetry tutorials for free on Youtube, and if you need to wear them out, Joe Wicks is running a youtube exercise class for kids (and adults!) every school day morning at 9am https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAxW1XT0iEJo0TYlRfn6rYQ

I don’t feel safe. Can I just tell my employer I’ll take this time off and claim the 80% of my wages from the government?

As staff, we don’t get to choose if we stay off or not unless we’re ill or self-isolating. The government promise of covering 80 per cent of wages is only where there is no work for people to do (because they cannot do their job from home), where that would otherwise mean our employer would make us redundant.

There’s a term many of us had not heard before, ‘furloughing’, which is where our job is retained but we’re asked not to work for a period. Most employers will keep paying us our full salary and, unless our employment contract allows for it (which is unlikely in most standard contracts), an employer needs to ask us first if they only want to pay us the 80 per cent of our wages covered by government.

But if we’re expected and able to work from home, or in the workplace if we’re a key worker, we don’t have the option of stopping work – unless we choose to quit. The government subsidy will only go to the employer. We cannot claim it ourselves.

Back to Corona-Finance button